Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Training is nothing; will is everything!

"Az a yung Jewesh boy grauwing up in Qveens, vun ov my favolite heloes vas Batmensch, who vould fight clime viz hiz sidekick, Lubin."

Actually, that's not true at all. I am, in point of fact, one of the only geeks I know that doesn't, didn't and never have read comic books on a regular basis. I have nothing against them, don't get me wrong, but I just never got into them. I have since read several notable graphic novels and a line or two of comics that my friends have loaned me, however. I actually feel that reading many of these have not only been fulfilling on a dramatic level, but has also given me a different perspective on the idea of telling a story through images.

Batman is a character that I believe works easily on the pages of a comic book, but that becomes a dicier prospect when transferring him to film. In fact, I think that the idea of a Batman film has even greater difficulty in terms of selling the reality of it than more fantastical figures such as Superman (who is an alien and has special powers), Spider-Man (who, through an accident gets special powers), the X-Men (who are evolving to have special powers) or even the Fantastic Four (who should have used their special powers to escape the film that the found themselves in). Somehow, a Batman movie has to make it seem real to the audience that a millionaire would dress up like a bat and beat up bad guys. As Bruce Wayne so aptly points out in the one of the films, "Anybody who would dress up like a bat really has issues." Furthermore, the camp television show and 1966 film left an indelible impression in the minds of millions. The fact of the matter is that the idea of exploring the how and the why of Batman on live-action film was invariably sidestepped in favor of playing up the action aspects of the idea.

Danny Elfman was a hard sell to the studio for Tim Burton, but the resulting score would revolutionize the sound of the comic book movie. Elfman's bold, brassy, Wagnerian but slightly off-kilter music for this film was a major aspect of the film, and his greatest career success has been in this genre. He would return for the 1992 sequel Batman Returns, where the more kinetic elements of the score would be balanced by tragic music for the Penguin and Catwoman. Batman: The Animated Series premiered between these two films, the music for which was composed by Shirley Walker, who conducted the original Batman score. Her more serious but no-less operatic approach would be given a larger palette, complete with a choir, on the feature-length theatrical release Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Burton handed over the directorial reigns of the feature series to Joel Schumacher, who would create two affronts to the concept of the character, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. However, while most of Schumacher's choices were completely disasterous, he brought Elliot Goldenthal into the mix. If Elfman's music was quirky, Goldenthal's was downright insane, basing his technique not only on the expectations of the genre, but the musical vocalizations that children make when they play. The resulting scores were beyond over-the-top, and incredibly entertaining for all that. When Christopher Nolan revamped the series for Batman Begins, he left behind the Straussian heights of the previous projects, electing to have James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer collaborate on the score. While Zimmer smugly says that nobody really knows who wrote what but they, it is pretty obvious most of the time which composer is working at any given time; Zimmer's music sounds like it always does. The grittier, more visceral sound created for this movie marks a marked departure from the other films in tone.

Putting this album together was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. There was no question that I would open with Elfman's overture. Because Elfman's score was so influential in general, there was no trouble combing his work with Walker's or Goldenthal's. The Howard/Zimmer stuff was a little more difficult to work in there, but I found that if there is one constant to all the Batman scores since Elfman's, it is an overall Gothic sensibility, so I was able to integrate these tracks into the body of the album. I did edit a few tracks, particularly the material from Batman Returns, which has always been a frustrating CD (there is no track listing on the package, only on the disc itself, and there two track marks devoted to several of the cues), but not very intensively. I was also happy to be able to include some interesting tracks from Batman & Robin, which has to date not seen a commercial release.I decided to close the album with a suite of fever-pitch action music, finishing off triumphantly with the finale from Elfman's Batman, bringing us out where we came in.

The result was a much more varied album than I was expecting, not so much because of the diversity of the composers' styles, but rather because of the different situations represented. There are some noirish elements of both Walker and Goldenthal's contributions, and while some of Goldenthal's music is beyond frenetic, it is balanced by some of the softer moments provided by Elfman and Howard's melodic passages representing Thomas Wayne and Gotham. However, the backbone of any one of these scores and this disc is the euphoric action music, and in this arena I feel that I've come up with a concoction that delivers the goods without being overwhelming.

The cover art was more important than usual to this disc. I didn't want to use an image from any of the films to represent the entire album. I therefore settled upon the above Alex Ross painting for the front of the disc and the one below for the disc itself. The inside cover, however, uses a bit of artwork from Batman Begins as an hommage not only to the fact that this was the movie that I feel finally got it right, but also because it represents the direct inspiration for the disc itself behind the track listing and credits.

Screen Tales of the Dark Knight


The Batman Theme 2:33
Batman (Danny Elfman)

Barbastella 1:40
Batman Begins (James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer)

Main Title & The Promise 2:19
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Shirley Walker)

Fledermausmarschmusik 1:11
Batman Forever (Elliot Goldenthal)

The Fall From Grace 1:04
Batman Returns (Danny Elfman)

Poison Ivy & Mr. Freeze's Plans 4:11
Batman & Robin (Elliot Goldenthal)

Macrotus 3:06
Batman Begins (James Newtown Howard/Hans Zimmer)

Photos 1:29
Batman (Danny Elfman)

Cool Wedding Crasher 4:18
Batman & Robin (Elliot Goldenthal)

Face-Off 0:32
Batman (Danny Elfman)

The Big Chase 5:29
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Shirley Walker)

The Cemetery 2:51
Batman Returns (Danny Elfman)

Nygma Variations (An Ode To Science) 6:00
Batman Forever (Elliot Goldenthal)

Eptesicus 4:06
Batman Begins (James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer)

Charge of the Batmobile 1:34
Batman (Danny Elfman)

The Birth of Batman 4:09
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Shirley Walker)

The Final Confrontation 6:05
Batman Returns (Danny Elfman)

Trust Me Now 0:46
Batman & Robin (Elliot Goldenthal)

Up the Cathedral 4:54
Batman (Danny Elfman)

Molossus 4:41
Batman Begins (James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer)

Attack of the Batwing 4:40
Batman (Danny Elfman)

Perils of Gotham 2:58
Batman Forever (Elliot Goldenthal)

Batman's Destiny 3:43
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Shirley Walker)

Corynorhinus 5:01
Batman Begins (James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer)

Finale 1:46
Batman (Danny Elfman)

Selections from BATMAN (1989)

Composed by
Danny Elfman
Performed by the Sinfonia of London Conducted by Shirley Walker
Orchestrated by Steve Bartek, Shirley Walker and Steven Scott Smalley
Engineered by Eric Tomlinson - Produced by Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek

Selections from
Composed by
Danny Elfman
Orchestra Conducted by Jonathan Sheffer
Orchestrated by Steve Bartek and Mark McKenzie
Engineered by Shawn Murphy - Produced by Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek

Selections from
Composed and Conducted by
Shirley Walker
Orchestrated by Ian Walker, Lolita Ritmanus, Peter Tomashek, Harvey R. Cohen, Michael McCuiston and Larry Rench
Synthesizers Performed by Hans Zimmer
Engineered by Robert Fernandez - Produced by Shirley Walker

Selections from
Composed by
Elliot Goldenthal
Orchestra Conducted by Jonathan Sheffer
Orchestrated by Robert Elhai, David John Olsen, Michael McCuiston, Lolita Ritmanus, Randy Kerber and Shirley Walker
Theremin Solos Performed by Paul Shore - Violin Solos Performed by Bruce Dukov
Engineered by Steve McLaughlin - Produced by Matthius Gohl and Richard Martinez

Selections from
Composed by
Elliot Goldenthal
Orchestra Conducted by Stephen Mercurio
Orchestrated by Bruce Babcock, Randy Kerber and Michael McCuiston
Theremin Solos Performed by Paul Shore
Engineered by Steve McLaughlin - Produced by Matthius Gohl and Richard Martinez

Selections from
Composed by
James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer
Orchestra Conducted by Gavin Greenaway
Orchestrated by Brad Dechter, Bruce Fowler, Ramin Djawadi and Mel Wasson
Vocal Solos Performed by Thomas Jesty - Acoustic 'Cello Performed by Paul Kegg - Electric 'Cello Performed by Martin Telman
Engineered by Geoff Foster - Produced by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Tags: danny elfman, elliot goldenthal, film music, james newton howard, my mixes, shirley walker
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